c o n v e r g e n c e:
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EDITOR'S CHOICE: cynthia linville's

Patrick Grizzell

Photograph by Myles Boisen
Photograph by Myles Boisen


by Patrick Grizzell

There are three.

In the first is a large bell jar under which
a small snake stretches itself up the inside
of the glass over and over trying to get to the top
but keeps falling back, unable to grip the surface.
It tries again and again, all muscles taut
a flicking tongue smelling its own anguish.

In the second, a violin lays on the seat of a chair,
its bow leaning against a leg. The wood of each
is warm, red. In a corner is a pile of sheet music with
the edges burned as if pulled from a fire.
The room smells of smoke.

In the third is a plain four-poster bed with
a woman asleep in it, two blankets and a comforter
piled on, just the top of her head visible,
her face deep in a down pillow.
I smell her all over me.

On the left side wall, a mirror which reflects me
and an open door, all of it music and stretch
and the thud of what has fallen, an entire world behind me.


by Patrick Grizzell

1. Faded Love

In that breath that Patsy Cline takes
at the end of "Faded Love"
it is as if every heartbreak
that ever happened
comes down to one broken breath
one catch in the throat
one moment in which
all that remains is to let go.

2. Cello Suite No. 1

It is the anticipation
when Segovia plays it
that sends my own breath cracking,
a pause in which a note played rings
and stretches toward the next one played,
not drawn out the way a bow can
but still unreleased as though
letting it stop
would be the end of everything.
if bach heard it, he would be, like me,
i like to think, unable to speak.

there is nothing i can do without
such sad singing.
this morning, centuries go by.
i imagine a crowd of people,
their clothing falling off
and being replaced
by new fashion
generation after generation,
all unable to move
until the last sound fades.

open your mouth. listen.


by Patrick Grizzell

Let's say you awaken one morning
And forget what it is you do.

It's happened before, you're certain
But you forget the context.

There is a note tacked to the bedpost
Written in a language you donít recognize.

There is the smell of toast in the house
As you stumble toward the nearest window.

Outside, things are tumbling about in the air;
familiar shapes but strange somehow.

Then you see it: how after years
only what's odd matters.

There is a weight to you
and you move slowly from chair to chair.

You watch for whatever is going to happen to happen
for what is hidden to reveal itself.

You sit down and finish your toast
thinking of your father eating alone.

You make your coffee the way he makes it
and remember the Clay-Liston fight.

There are people you have loved
and will never see again.

You get your language back
Re-learn how to see.

Outside, the mailman is loading his sack
Placing the chaos of language into order.

On your street, twenty people will read the word "love"
Followed by the name of someone you will never meet

Patrick Grizzell

Patrick Grizzell

Patrick Grizzell is a poet, songwriter and visual artist. His books include Dark Music, Chicken Months, Minotaure Into Night, and 13 Poems, an illustrated chapbook from Rattlesnake Press. He has a new full length collection, Writing in Place, under way. Grizzell was a founding member and previous director of the Sacramento Poetry Center and has worked extensively as an editor. He has performed poetry and music with Allen Ginsberg, Leon Redbone, Gary Snyder, Jim Ringer and Mary McCaslin, David Raitt, Ed Sanders, Taj Mahal, William Stafford, Robert Creeley and Anne Waldman, among others.

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